Main crop potato planting is well underway, with an estimated 82,000ha already done by 28 April, the British Potato Council said.

It is an improvement on last year, when only 57,200ha (38%) were in the ground at the same point. Norfolk and Lincolnshire got off to a good start with 90% of the crop in, while other areas of the UK have had mixed conditions.

Cornish earlies are still suffering from low temperatures and lifting is not expected in volume until mid-May, extending demand for old crop potatoes.

BPC analyst Rob Burrow said he expected there to be very little carry-over into this year’s new crop.

Futures prices were fairly stable at £93/t for November 2006 and £120/t for next April.